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Monday, July 15, 2024

Employee Relationship Dynamics in Startups Decoded by Pavitra Pradip Walvekar

Pavitra Pradip Walvekar – Transforming our workplace into a unified team isn’t an aspiration; it’s a commitment to fostering a culture where camaraderie, cooperation, and collaboration are the cornerstones of our success.

In the dynamic world of startups, the idea that “employees are family” has been a popular mantra. While this perspective is comforting, an alternative viewpoint suggests a more effective strategy for fostering a successful startup culture. Envision your company not as a family, but as a sports team. This is the approach championed by Pavitra Pradip Walvekar, the forward-thinking leader at the helm of Kudos Finance and Investments Private Limited in Pune. Walvekar’s propagation of the “Sports Team Model” offers a fresh perspective on team dynamics, challenging traditional notions and paving the way for a more performance-driven culture. Let’s take a look.

Why treating your employees like “family” will not work?

Running your organization as a family can actually hold you back in several ways. First, there will inevitably come a time when you need to let some employees go, either through firing or layoffs. Pavitra Pradip Walvekar says, “If you’ve been calling them family, this can come off as hypocritical. Second, to effectively compensate, motivate, and develop your team, you need to set and measure performance standards. This requires objective assessments based on clearly defined metrics unlike a family setting”

adopting a family-like approach can foster unhealthy attitudes towards employees, often treating them as children rather than capable adults. Today’s workforce values trust, empowerment, and involvement over paternalistic leadership, seeking a more collaborative and respectful environment. “Managing expectations in a work environment where the employer tries to mimic the family environment will never work” adds Pavitra Pradip Walvekar.

What works:

Performance-Based Culture

The sports team model hinges on one fundamental principle: performance. “In a sports team, players earn their spot through skill, dedication, and results. The same should apply to a startup. If an employee consistently performs well and contributes to the company’s success, they should stay and have opportunities to grow. On the other hand, if performance falters despite repeated chances, it might be time to make room for new talent.” Explains Pavitra Pradip Walvekar

This approach benefits both the company and its employees. It ensures that the best talent is retained, while also pushing employees to continuously improve and develop their skills.

Creating a Platform for Growth

Not everyone can be an ‘A player’, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have opportunities to excel. Startups should strive to create an environment that encourages and facilitates skill development. As the company grows, employees should be given the chance to acquire new skills and take on more responsibilities.

This creates a natural filter, ensuring that those who can adapt and evolve with the organization’s needs thrive, while those who can’t find their niche elsewhere.

Fostering a Thriving Atmosphere

The ethos of a sports team extends beyond performance; it’s about teamwork, communication, and camaraderie. Similarly, a startup should foster an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, challenging the status quo, and speaking their minds.

In this setting, it doesn’t matter who comes up with an idea, as long as it benefits the company. This promotes a culture of open dialogue and collaboration, driving innovation and problem-solving.

A Company-First Approach

At the end of the day, everyone benefits when the company succeeds. Growth in the company should translate to growth for its team members through compensation, recognition, promotions, and personal development opportunities.

Embracing Feedback

Effective management in a sports team model requires openness to feedback from all levels of the organization. Team members who are closest to the problem often have the best insights and solutions.

Pavitra Pradip Walvekar feels that Implementing a bottoms-up approach to problem-solving not only signals to employees that their opinions are valued but also ensures that their insights are acted upon. This leads to more impactful work and fosters a culture of engaged, thinking team members rather than mindless drones.

While the family metaphor may evoke feelings of warmth and loyalty, the sports team model offers a more pragmatic and effective approach to managing employee relationships in startups. By focusing on performance, fostering growth, embracing feedback, and prioritizing the company’s success, startups can build a culture that encourages excellence, innovation, and collaboration. After all, in both sports and startups, it’s the collective effort of the team that leads to victor.


 Pavitra Pradip Walvekar, 

 Kudos Finance

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